Educational background: Architect & Designer
Job title: Architect at Steen Friis Design
What is your background?
I am originally from Ecuador where I got a degree in Architecture. In 2008 I moved to Denmark to study Design at Aarhus School of Architecture. After that I studied furniture design in Argentina, and following that I have been working with architecture and design both internationally and back here in Denmark.
How did you end up in Denmark?
I have always been interested in Danish design so after studying in Argentina, I decided to move back to Denmark. And since then I have been working with design of working spaces, retail projects, hospitality, and now maritime design.
Most of your previous experience has been land-based - how come you're now working with naval architecture and design?
I have always been a very curious person, and I like to learn from challenges. So after some years with a tight focus on land-based assignments, I decided to apply for a job at Steen Friis Design. To be frank, I did not know much about the maritime world - my only touchpoint was my grandfather who was a sailor. So, it has been very different from what I have been used to previously. But, now I've been in this job since May 2018 - and it is very exciting. I learn something new every day!
What is exciting about this job compared to your former jobs?
When it comes to materials, your options are much more limited when you are designing a ship compared to e.g. a hotel. Because of the strict rules due to fire regulations, you only have limited options to choose from, and that increases the requirements. So you must be creative in order to find solutions that meet expectations, functionalism, and aesthetics and at the same time comply with maritime regulations. This is a professional and creative challenge on a daily basis, and personally I find it very exciting and rewarding, when you can get to that goal in a ship interior design.
Can you give an example of a project where you had to find a solution to that challenge?
When we designed a ship for Kystruten in Norway, we wanted to create a design that was inspired by the distinctive Norwegian nature. As we were limited regarding the use of natural materials, we had to creatively mix colours and textures in order to create interior spaces that could connect the design with the context. It was not easy, but it was fulfilling to find those alternative, but functional solutions that would still give off that nature vibe both we and the owner expected.
Would you recommend other land-based architects and designers to seek a job in the maritime world?
Absolutely! Maritime design can tend to be conservative, but I see this as the perfect opportunity to use your skills to challenge the conventions and bring something new to the table. You must prepare to do your job in a different way and think out of the box - but in a way that develops you both personally and professionally as well as the projects you design.